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In discussions of guns and gun policy in America, one statistics for me stands out: on average, 100,000+ Americans suffer gunshot injuries every year: and 30,000+ of those injuries are fatal injuries.  That's right: 30,000+ Americans die every year from gunshot injuries.  That's averages out to over 80 deaths from guns every day; more than 3 deaths during the average hour.  

Thirty thousand Americans dying every year from gunshot injuries is a slaughter.  Thirty thousand Americans shot dead every years is a disaster of war-time proportions. If we heard of 30,000 people being shot dead in another country during the course of one year, there would be serious talk of sending in a UN peace-keeping force.  Yet 30,000+ Americans are killed by guns every years, and no one bats an eye.  Because 30,000 shot dead in one year would be highly unusual in another country, but in America, that is the norm.  .Hurricane Katrina killed 1800+ Americans, and that was seen as a catastrophe requiring government action to prevent a repeat.  The horrible terrorist attacks of 2001 killed fewer that 3,000 Americans, but this toll was perceived as calamitous and a national emergency so extreme that, within two years' time, we had invaded two sovereign nations in order to ensure that the number of Americans killed in terrorist attacks is forever reduced.  Yet, every year we kill ten times that number of Americans, and no action is taken.  Our national legislature could not even bring itself to discuss a possible response to the ongoing slaughter after one of their own was shot in the head in public (though severely wounded, the representative survived and is recovering).

When I tell a gun enthusiast that 30,000+ Americans die every year from gunshot injuries, I typically get two kinds of responses.  Some gun enthusiasts will say something like, well, 100,000+ Americans die every year in hospitals, or 40,000+ Americans die every year in automobile accidents, so the number of Americans killed by gun fire every years is not really a big deal.  If one is willing to respond despite the effort to change the topic of conversation (from guns to hospitals or automobiles), one has to acknowledge that yes, large numbers of Americans die in hospitals and in motor vehicle accidents, but the demographics of who is dying, and our response to those deaths, is very different.  The vast majority of deaths in hospitals occur in people who have reached the end of their lives or have terminal illnesses - these are mostly unavoidable deaths.  Deaths from gunshot injuries occur in the old and the young, and every age in between; these are largely preventible deaths.  Moreover, for both cars and hospitals, there exist a national and concerted ongoing effort to reduce the number of deaths from these causes.  Laws are passed to make car manufacturers design and build safer cars, traffic lights are installed at intersections, hospital review board investigate causes of deaths in hospitals to implement better practices and eliminate errors, doctors are constantly trying new life-saving therapies.  There is no similar effort to reduce the number of deaths in America from guns.  Indeed, in recent years numerous laws have been passed making it easier to buy and use guns (and more guns is strongly associated with greater numbers of fatal gunshot injuries – see here: http://www.dailykos.com/...).

It is right and correct that we as a nation seek to reduce preventible deaths in hospitals and from motor vehicle accidents.  Yet the number of people who die every year in hospitals and cars in no way mitigates the national tragedy of 30,000+ Americans dying every year from gunshot injuries. Just as it is right and correct to seek to reduce the number of deaths that occur in hospitals and from cars, it is equally right and correct that we as a nation seek ways to reduce the number of Americans who die every year from gunshot injuries.  And that we are not doing.

The second kind of responses I hear from gun enthusiasts is that suicides make up a large proportion of the 30,000+ Americans who die every year from gunshot injuries.  Gun enthusiasts argue that suicides should not be counted in the tally of Americans who die every year from gunshot injury; and that the figure of 30,000+ yearly American deaths from guns is over-inflated by the inclusion of suicides.  The argument seems to be that death resulting from suicide is somewhat less of a tragedy because the death was intentional, or that the person who shoots himself (most completed suicides occur in men and guns are the most common method for male suicides) wants to die and will find a way to kill themselves whether they have a gun or not.  Therefore, argue the gun enthusiasts, the reported number of Americans who die by gunshot injury every year is exaggerated, and the correct tally should be reported as much lower.

Gun enthusiasts are correct that suicides make up a large proportion of those dying from gunshot injuries every year.  So let us assume that 50% of the fatal gunshot injuries that occur every year are due to suicide.  So that only 15,000+ Americans die a non-suicide death from a gunshot wound every year.  Only. 15,000+ deaths every year.  That is still a lot of dead Americans: still five times as many deaths as occurred on 9/11, and 9/11 is not a yearly event.  I would still be arguing that we as a civilized society should be seeking ways to reduce gun fatalities: that a yearly toll of  “only”15,000+ Americans dying from gunshot injuries is at least as much of a problem as the 9/11 attacks.  And that a mere 15,000+ Americans dying every year from gunshot injuries is a national emergency.

But all that is really beside the point.  Suicides do matter: these are needless and preventible deaths.  Death due to suicide is still a death which ripples out to effect family, friends, and co-workers, it is still an economic loss for a community, a suicide tells us that someone is going through an extreme of human suffering and going through it alone.  We as a nation cannot ignore and discount suicide and continue to pretend we value “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

And apparently, on this point Pres. Obama and the US military agrees.  Friday (Sept 1, 2012), Pres. Obama signed an executive order instructing the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs to expand suicide prevention and mental health services for veterans.  Under the order, the VA will increase telephone hot-line services, increase access to mental health providers so any veteran in crisis can be seen within 24 hours, and launch a 12 month campaign to educate veterans about VA services.

See, suicide rates are increasing among our military service personnel and veterans, and have been for some time.  The CDC reports that in recent years 6000 veterans kill themselves annually; and about 18 veterans kill themselves every day (http://usnews.nbcnews.com/...).  The US Army reported that 38 active-duty and reserve soldiers killed themselves in the month of July, 2012, the highest number of monthly suicides in that group since the Army began keeping records.  During the previous month of June, 2012, 24 soldiers killed themselves (http://usnews.nbcnews.com/...).  And according to the New York Times, more soldiers now die by suicide than are killed in combat.  (http://www.nytimes.com/...)
Reliable statistics are lacking, but in all likelihood, the majority of those military suicides are accomplished using a firearm.  Soldiers generally have experience and familiarity with using guns, soldiers who kill themselves are also more likely to be men (men are more likely than women to complete a suicide), and men as a group overwhelmingly choose guns as the means of suicide.

Apparently, the President and the US military do not agree with the gun enthusiasts that people who shoot themselves do not matter, should not be counted, or that there is nothing that can be done because “those people want to die”.  And for most Americans, the automatic response when considering the tragedy of an active duty soldier or a veteran killing themselves is to jump up and say “We should do something to fix that” and not “we don't count those”.  Pres. Obama's executive order is an important step for better care of our military service veterans, and important for the prevention of needless deaths.

So to gun enthusiasts who complain that the statistic that 30,000+ Americans are killed every year due to gunshot injury is erroneously inflated because that statistic includes people who kill themselves, I will remind them that perhaps as many as 6,000 of those suicides were veterans, and most Americans do not agree with dis-counting military vets.

To me, the idea that nothing can or should be done to prevent suicide because someone who is thinking about killing themselves will kill themselves no matter what is a expression of ignorance about the nature of suicide.  The little science that has been done is yet very revealing.  Women make many more suicide attempts than men, while men complete suicides are higher rates than women.  Women most frequently choose drugs/poisons as their suicide method, men most frequently use guns as their method.  It follows that the rapid lethality of guns is a factor in turning a suicidal thought into a completed suicide.  

Gun enthusiasts do not want to acknowledge that 30,000+ Americans die every year so that gun enthusiasts can enjoy their guns (and/or depending on your political views, so the gun industry can enjoy ever-increasing profits).  So the gun enthusiasts/gun industry will try to minimize the reality by telling us that the figure 30,000 is inflated by people who kill themselves, that people who kill themselves should not be counted, and that no response is needed because people who kill themselves would be dead, guns or no guns.  These arguments are all factually and morally wrong, and repugnant to those who care about the lives of people suffering from mental illness..  Exactly how and why these arguments are wrong becomes plain when we think about suicide among US service personnel and veterans.  And the dynamics of suicide are no different in the civilian population.

Suicides do count.  The President is to be applauded for his strong stand in preventing suicide among our veterans and military personnel.  Let us follow his lead to better mental health services for all Americans.  A review of our nation's gun policy should be part of that effort.

Originally posted to Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:27 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peterfallow

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:27:05 AM PDT

  •  Japan has more suicide (19+ / 0-)

    and no guns...

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:35:36 AM PDT

  •  Well, yeah. (6+ / 0-)

    But what measures do you propose to improve the situation?

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:41:11 AM PDT

    •  Put an end to the buying and selling of our law-ma (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PavePusher

      My first suggestion is to put an end to a system of government that permits the buying and selling of our law-makers.

      I suggest that ALL elections should be publicly funded, and ALL private "donations" to law-makers be outlawed.  Freed of the obligation to satisfy those wealthy corporate donations coming from the gun industry, our law-makers could then decide matters of gun policy based on their conscience, or what they think is best for the community, or whatever it is the law-makers think will satisfy the majority of the voters in their district.

      Such a plan may not end gun violence in America, but it will solve a wide range of problems our nation faces today.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:52:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  According to the CDC (17+ / 0-)

    The leading cause of suicide death for men by firearms is about 57%.  The remaining 43% use some other method.

    The leading method used by women is poison (overdose of some kind).  Firearms are not often used by women.

    There is no way to prevent a person determined to kill themselves from doing it short of locking them up, and even then, incarceration is not foolproof.  And you have to let them out sometime.  

    Had a case once where his family took the fellow's guns, so he went into the attic, tied a rope around his neck and then to a rafter.  Jumped out the attic access door in his garage.  Death was probably instant, since he had a six foot drop and almost tore his head off.  So much for confiscating guns as a means of preventing suicide.  

    Methinks I smell more red herring.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:47:59 AM PDT

  •  Criminal vs. Non-criminal vs. Police related? (11+ / 0-)

    Read this over a couple of times and the link to the chart.  

    From the linked diary

    The Center for Disease Control (CDC) keeps a databank on injuries and fatalities in the US.  I collected the yearly data on fatal and non-fatal gunshot injuries, both intentional and non-intentional, for both sexes and all ages.  This data includes gunshot injuries resulting form criminal acts, shootings by law enforcement, unintentional shootings, and suicides.
    Would seem that these further breakdowns would be relevant to building a case against "gun enthusiasts"?  Also, seems suicides would be a known number from the data you reference and not a matter of speculation?  Unless, of course, that's not what you're going for...

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:53:35 AM PDT

    •  You are right on all counts. (13+ / 0-)

      Conflating all those disparate types of injury creates numbers far larger than would be the case if they are broken down and taken to logical conclusions.

      For example, suicide rates would probably be unchanged if every gun on the planet were to suddenly disappear.  Cases I have worked on have included hanging, overdose, jumping off high places, deliberately crashing an airplane, automobile and motorcycle, self inflicted cuts and stab wounds and jumping in front of an 18-wheel truck. There have been several where the suicide was by train--some of those have been caught on video.  

      Murder and injury have been around long before firearms as well.  The first crime recorded in the Bible is murder using the jawbone of an ass as a blunt instrument.  

      The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

      by Otteray Scribe on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:02:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I look forward to your research (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peterfallow

      I look forward to your research on the 30,000+ Americans who die every year from fatal gunshot injuries.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:08:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not the one that said (13+ / 0-)
        I collected the yearly data on fatal and non-fatal gunshot injuries, both intentional and non-intentional, for both sexes and all ages.
        and apparently summarized it to support a thesis...

        "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

        by EdMass on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:13:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please point out any errors you have found (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peterfallow

          Please point out any errors your have found in that article.

          If you cannot identify any errors in that article, then your argument is specious.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:19:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here for example (12+ / 0-)
            This data is from the CDC web-site (http://www.cdc.gov/....).  During the year 2009, the last year for which complete data is available, there were 31,347 deaths in the US due to firearms, for a crude (non-age adjusted) rate of 10.21 deaths per 100,000 persons.  If you lived in a city of 100,000 persons, you could expect that 10 of your neighbors would die from a firearm injury that year.  Five hundred and fifty-six of these deaths were classified as “unintentional” (an accident), and 30,561 of these deaths were classified as “Violence-related” (presumably intentional).  During the same period, there were 66,769 non-fatal firearm injuries here in the US, with a crude rate of 21.76 non-fatal injuries per 100,000 persons.  If you lived in a city of 100,000 persons, you could expect 22 of your neighbors to suffer an injury due to a firearm that year.  Of these injuries, 18,610 were classified as “Unintentional”, while 48,158 non-fatal injuries were “Violence-related”.
            Violence-related (criminals/LE)= "gun enthusiast"?

            Bye

            "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

            by EdMass on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:36:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What is your point? (0+ / 0-)

              What is your point?  Have you found an error with the article, and if so, what is it?

              In the segment quoted above, I am citing data collected and reported by the CDC.  If you have a problem with the data published by the CDC, you need to question the CDC about that.

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:44:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Many, many more than your cited (13+ / 0-)

    100,000 die in hospitals every year, because a hospital is indeed the last stop for most people on their way out. The 100,000 figure you cite is the number of people who die of medical errors while in the hospital. You know, prescription screw-ups, iatrogenic infections, malpractice, etc. That's just the people who weren't dying when they went in to the hospital. Nobody's keeping track of the number of Americans dying of medical errors outside the hospital every year, but we can safely triple the number above and still probably come out short. Another estimated 47,000 Americans die every year from lack of access to any medical care at all.

    Actual annual death rate from all causes according to the census bureau is right around 8 million people (it fluctuates quite a bit depending on several factors). Because life is a 100% fatal condition, a certain percentage of the population will inevitably die off every year. Though some causes are certainly too high, including suicide (now outstripping motor vehicle accidents in number of deaths, with prescription drug overdose the preferred method and guns coming in second).

    It wouldn't hurt your argument to portray the statistics as they are, as opposed to what you'd like them to be.

    •  Yes, we should correct medical errors (0+ / 0-)

      I agree entirely that we as a nation should work to correct medical errors.

      I disagree with those who say we should ignore those who die by suicide, or that there is nothing we can do to reduce the number the number of people who die by suicide.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:58:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who, exactly, is saying, (11+ / 0-)
        we should ignore those who die by suicide
        Linkies?


        Time travel opportunity. Must bring your own weapons. Your safety is not guaranteed, I've only done this once before. Call 866.555.1212.

        by IndieGuy on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:02:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Suicide is a tragic event, always. (8+ / 0-)

        No matter what means people use to accomplish the deed, be it slashed wrists all the way to Dr. Death (Kavorkian). The family members and friends left behind will always have a hole in their hearts and lives, and too many depressed people just don't think about that when deciding to take their own lives.

        But I'm not really clear on what you'd propose to do about the number of suicides accomplished with guns every year. Other than agree with the RKBA members who say repeatedly that we need much better mental health care in this country, and that should translate into people with serious mental health issues not being able to purchase guns/ammo or having to turn them over to a not mentally ill family member (or other surrogate) until the condition is under control.

        And even then a committedly suicidal person can usually find some other way of doing themselves in and burdening their loved ones for the rest of their lives. As I mentioned, prescription drugs (usually opiates or synthetic opiates) are the #1 means of suicide these days. Which might go a long way in educating us about why many people choose death when they're in constant pain. Having known several people in my lifetime who ended their suffering one way or another when they couldn't take it any more, there's some compassion involved in such events that does NOT beg for societal intervention to prevent them from doing so.

        Bottom line, I have guns. None of them has ever injured or killed a human being and I hope that never happens. I certainly see no need at all for me to surrender my guns - or my rights - just because someone somewhere uses a gun to kill themselves. It sort of looks like that is what you are arguing for.

        •  Two things (0+ / 0-)

          1)  Gun enthusiasts should acknowledge that 30,000+ Americans die every year due to gunshot injuries, and the magnitude of that yearly slaughter is in no way diminished or lessened because some of those gunshot injuries are self-administered.  To say that the tally of Americans who die by gunshot every year is inaccurate because it includes people who kill themselves is factually erroneous and morally repugnant.

          2) Empiric evidence demonstrates that the number of guns in America is directly correlated with the number of gun injuries, both fatal and non-fatal.  It follows that any reduction in the number of guns in America will be accompanied by a reduction in both fatal and non-fatal gunshot injuries.  That is the science of it.

          I am glad your guns have not resulted in any injuries.  But your argument about your guns is like the person who smokes but claims that cigarettes are harmless because they have not gotten cancer.

          The science that tells us cigarettes cause cancer is the same science that tells us more guns are associated with more gunshot injuries.  

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 12:07:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Um. (8+ / 0-)

            1. Who's arguing the tally?

            2. This is based on your own research in a previous diary, where it was pointed out that your data set consisted of two consistently increasing variables parameterized over an annual time set.  It is unsurprising that you found a strong correlation given such a toy set up.  It is also incorrect to say that "it follows" that reducing the number of guns would reduce the number of fata and non-fatal gunshot injuries.  That is the science of it.

            Your crude, if somewhat laudable, practice with statistical methods is not epidemiology.  You explore no covariates, your data set is extraordinarily small, and your findings do not support your prohibitionist conclusion.

            •  The study was statistically correct (0+ / 0-)

              The study was performed using publicly available data (so you can check it to see if I got the numbers correct), and I used a common statistics test performed in the usual way.  Go ahead and perform your own Pearson's correlation on the data set and you will arrive at the same results I did.  If you object to the correlation, what statistics test do you think should be done.

              Go ahead and tell me what errors you found in either the data set or the statistics done.  If you cannot identify any errors, than your criticisms of the study are specious.

              The nature of a positive correlation is that if one number goes up, the other number goes up, and if one number goes down, there other number goes down.  That is the science of it.  Anything else is a misinterpretation of a correlation.  The mathematical nature of correlation allows anyone to claim that if the number of guns were to decrease, this would be accompanied by a decrease in gun injuries.

              Go ahead and do a study involving covariates and using a better database (if you can find one).  I look forward to seeing your research.    

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 01:07:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I already spelled out my objections. (7+ / 0-)

                Which were reiterated above.  I also pointed out your error, in drawing a conclusion from a correlation that is extremely sensitive to even single point perturbations.  I suspect you're confusing the dependence test represented by Pearson's coefficient with curve fitting (an exercise for you, what is the coefficient for a dataset characterized by y = x^2?).

                •  Your objections are specious (0+ / 0-)

                  You objected to my use of a correlation, but correlation such as the one I have done are used by scientists everyday around the world.

                  You objected to the fact that no covariates were investigated, where there was no data of covariates to investigate.

                  You complain that the dataset was too small, when I used the best and largest dataset available.

                  Now you are complaining that the correlation I used is too sensitive to single point perturbations, when, as I have already said, I used the same correlation used by scientists everyday, AND you have not identified any single point perturbation in the data (which you have access to).

                  Your criticisms of the research are specious.  The research stands as it is.

                  If you can do a better study, I look forward to seeing it.

                  "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                  by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 03:17:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I did not object to your use of a correlation. (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Joieau, oldpunk, PavePusher, Robobagpiper

                    That is precisely the tool you would use.  I objected to the quality of your sample and the conclusion you drew from the resulting correlation.

                    I don't blame you for the paucity of data, but I do expect you to be judicious in making extraordinary claims in the absence of evidence.

                    A single point perturbation is easy.  Your dataset consisted of nine points in each vector.  Perturb one.

                    The research does not stand.  The only thing you've shown is that two variables track with one another over a range of nine points.  You would have found a more impressive correlation (R = 0.909, p = 0.00065) between real median household income for the lowest income bracket.

          •  More bad argument. (7+ / 0-)

            (1) Who doesn't "acknowledge" that 30,000 people die of gunshot every year? 100,000 people die of medical errors in hospitals. 47,000 die of no medical care. ~50,000 people a year die of influenza. Cancer, organ failure, motor vehicle accidents, bathtub falls, electrocution, evil boyfriend/husband, drug overdose, house fires, wars... there are lots of ways to die. And every year millions of people do die. That is the nature of life (and death) on planet earth.

            You cannot prevent a single death by confiscating my gun, because my gun hasn't killed anybody and isn't likely ever to kill anybody. That's just a fact that you don't want to acknowledge because it doesn't fit your fallacious argument.

            (2) The number of guns in America still does not correlate with any gun out there that has never been used to commit a crime or kill self/other human being. You might better lobby to make private vehicle ownership illegal because ~30,000 people die in motor vehicle accidents every year.

            You'd get a lot of resistance from people who like their vehicles or claim to need them to get to work and the grocery store, etc. You could claim that car owners "don't care" about the ~30,000 people who die in vehicle accidents every year, but I sincerely doubt they'd be willing to surrender their car because you claim they "don't care."

            There is no "science" in your argument. There is a rather disturbing callousness evident in a totally fallacious argument and I cannot imagine why you'd believe it'll fly. Here at DKos or anywhere else.

      •  Who? (10+ / 0-)

        Last I checked, people were taking issue with your preferred program for reducing suicides.  Not with the ultimate objective.

        Assuming reducing suicides is your actual goal, rather than a happy side effect of a more nefarious agenda.

  •  horseshit. opinions =/= analysis (11+ / 0-)

    Have you hugged your Boeuf Bourguignon today?

    by wretchedhive on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:11:56 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for your opinion. (6+ / 0-)

    Though I think the conclusions you draw from the statistics you include are wrong in some cases, and unprovable at best, such as this:

    Deaths from gunshot injuries occur in the old and the young, and every age in between; these are largely preventible deaths
    •  Suicide and violent deaths are preventable (0+ / 0-)

      The fatal gunshot injuries that occur both by suicide and through acts of violence are largely preventable.

      If you don't think suicides are preventable you are ignorant about the nature of suicide - who does it, why they do it, and how they do it.  (And I will also pass your name along to IndieGuy, who wants to know who advocates for ignoring suicide.)

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:28:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No one here stated... (12+ / 0-)

        ...that we should ignore suicide itself, the causes of suicide, or that we should not prevent those that we can.

        Rather, what has been stated is that your assertion that removing guns from the equation would greatly reduce the rate of suicide is, at best, unsupported and, at worst, simply false.

        That being the case, the statement:

        And I will also pass your name along to IndieGuy, who wants to know who advocates for ignoring suicide.
        ...is based on a falsehood, that the person you are responding to advocates for ignoring suicide.

        When you can only support your stance by twisting the words of those who disagree with you into something that they are not, and with outright falsehoods, perhaps it is time to re-examine that stance.

        Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

        by theatre goon on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:42:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Police-state authoritarians are not satisfied with (9+ / 0-)

          reducing harm, which is all that can be done in the climate of human freedom, and this immediately scream for the prohibition of sin-objects, on the theory if people were forcibly and violently kept by the police-state from the objects they use to sin, then they would be forced to stop doing those things that give the authoritarian a vicarious sad.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:59:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Erroneous (0+ / 0-)

          The comments that have been made to me by gun enthusiasts is that the statistic that 30,000+ Americans die every year from gunshots is inflated because that number (30,000+) includes people who kill themselves.

          This is a specious and false argument because, whether those deaths occurred intentionally or unintentionally is irrelevant: the fact remains that 30,000+ Americans die every year due to gunshot injuries.  

          Moreover such a false argument is a tremendous slap in the face to anyone who every became suicidal, or anyone concerned about someone who is suicidal, or the family members who have survived a death by suicide of a loved one.

          I agree with you that removing guns may not greatly reduce the occurrence of suicide.  But I will suggest that Pres. Obama's effort to reduce suicide among our service personnel and veterans may not greatly reduce the occurrence of suicide either.  My own opinion is that ANY reduction (small or large) in suicides is a good thing, and I am pleased to see the president willing to make the effort.

          I suggest we follow the president's lead and make a similar effort for everyone else in the country.  

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:03:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  All sincere efforts to diminish (7+ / 0-)

            the suicide rate in this country should be welcome. But taking away the guns of people who are neither suicidal nor criminally inclined would not accomplish that. Surely you can see that, as it is blatantly obvious.

            You just don't like the idea that people in this country have a right to own guns, so are using the number of people who commit suicide by gun to try and justify your belief that people in this country should not have a right to own guns.

            You have conflated the tool that some people use to commit suicide with the larger issue of suicide itself. That is a fallacious argument and I think you know it.

            •  The scientific evidence says otherwise (0+ / 0-)

              The scientific evidence suggests that removing guns will indeed reduce the occurrence of suicide.

              Over the past decade, the number of guns in America has been positiviely correlated with the number of fatal gun injuries (some of which are suicides).  This correlation means that if the number of guns were to be reduced, there would be a concomittant reduction in fatal gunshot injuries (including suicides).

              Moreover, the available clinical studies show that providing a safe environment (i.e. an environment free of guns) for people who are suicidal results in a reduction in the occurrence of suicide.

              I have yet to see any empiric studies that show that suicides do not decrease after a reduction in guns.  If you know of any such studies please let me know: I want to see them.

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 01:25:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So... (7+ / 0-)

                You propose removing 270 million guns from responsible, law-abiding gun owners because 30,000 people die of bullet wounds over a year's time - accidental, self-inflicted and crime related? Good luck with that.

                I will await your crusade to ban doctors, nurses, hospitals and all forms of medical care due to the large number of people who die of lousy or non-existent medical care every year - many, many times the number of deaths than are caused by bullets (outside of war zones). Oh, and motor vehicles too. Lots of people die of those. High school and college sports, particularly football, but trampolines too. And ladders. And bicycles. And horses. And slippery bathtubs. And burning houses. And mosquitoes! 3+ million a year! Not to mention dogs, bears, cougars, rats (they poop!) with fleas. Birds and pigs harbor influenzas, e.coli and salmonella kill indiscriminately, etc., etc., etc.

                ~8 million people die in the U.S. alone every single year, and your lifetime chances of being diagnosed with cancer are scheduled to go upwards of 1 in two by 2020, mostly from industrial pollution and poisons in our food, air and water. You've got your work cut out for you, I must say.

      •  LOL is that a threat or something? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Unit Zero, IndieGuy, PavePusher
        (And I will also pass your name along to IndieGuy, who wants to know who advocates for ignoring suicide.)
        What a douchebag thing to write! And there I was further down giving you credit for at least fleshing out your ideas.

        Good luck with that threat btw...even if IndieGuy was as loopy as you are and though my comment was "advocating for ignoring suicide" your "pass along" means shit.

        •  IndieGuy wants to know (0+ / 0-)

          IndieGuy is hoping to undermine my criticism of gun enthusiasts by asking me to identify those who say that suicides should not be counted in the tally of Americans who die every year by gunshot injuries (see comments above).

          I do not know whether you think people who kill themselves should be included in the number of Americans who die every year due to gunshot injury.

          If you think that people who kill themselves should be included in the number of Americans who die every year due to gunshot injury, then you and I are in agreement.

          If you think that people who kill themselves should NOT be included in the number of Americans who die every year due to gunshot injury, then I will pass along your name to IndieGuy because he wants to know who are the people who think that.

          I think we both know there will be no consequence from IndieGuy for whatever you think.  I think IndieGuy is a gun enthusiast who is simply trying to score a silly point.  If IndieGuy is going to be carrying out a vendetta on anyone, it will be me, not on you.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 12:19:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. (5+ / 0-)

            IndieGuy is calling you a liar.  At least make up shit in a different diary.  It's too easy calling you out in the same one.

            Liar.


            Time travel opportunity. Must bring your own weapons. Your safety is not guaranteed, I've only done this once before. Call 866.555.1212.

            by IndieGuy on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 03:25:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And I knew that you really did not want to know (0+ / 0-)

              Yes, and I knew that you did not REALLY want to know the names of dk gun enthusiasts who say that suicides should be discounted from the tally of yearly Americans dying from gunshot injuries.

              I'm thinking it will make for an interesting future diary to list some of those comments so everyone can see who is making comments like that.

              Who, exactly, is saying, (8+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:Robobagpiper, Otteray Scribe, Captain Janeway, theatre goon, kestrel9000, Joieau, Bob Novak Douchebag of Liberty, Unit Zero
              we should ignore those who die by suicide
              Linkies?

              --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Time travel opportunity. Must bring your own weapons. Your safety is not guaranteed, I've only done this once before. Call 866.555.1212.

              by IndieGuy on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:02:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent | Reply to this ]  Recommend  Hide
               

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 03:55:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The basic dishonesty of the diary... (9+ / 0-)

    ...is when the diarist insists that those who disagree with the unsupported assertions made, that:

    Gun enthusiasts do not want to acknowledge that 30,000+ Americans die every year so that gun enthusiasts can enjoy their guns ...
    My emphasis.

    In an attempt to minimize the arguments made against unsupported conclusions, the diarist apparently believes that he can dismiss those arguments on a false premise.

    Those who support a Constitutionally-protected Civil Right are not the ones here attempting to sidestep any actual points.  Those who wish to protect Civil Rights from pointless and needless infringements upon those rights are not simply wanting to enjoy some pastime.  It is dishonest to conflate the two stances (a desire to protect Civil Rights and an interest in a hobby or pastime) -- they are completely dissimilar.

    Rather, the diarist seems to believe (in the original diary, at any rate -- the comments show a wholly different stance) that prohibiting one of the many tools available for those determined to commit suicide will necessarily result in a reduction of suicide -- a conclusion in no way supported by the evidence presented.

    This is merely one example of the outright falsehoods leveled against those who disagree with the diarist, but it is a representative one.  Each of those falsehoods is an attempt to dismiss those calling out the fallacies in the diary itself as somehow not believable.

    There seems to be some imaginary "gun enthusiast" archetype that makes all of the arguments that the diarist rails against.  Sadly, however, those arguments are either wholly nonexistent, or taken so far out of context that their original meaning is lost.

    I suppose by creating a fictional character to provide all of these arguments the diarist may think that the basic premise of his diary is no longer a strawman argument.

    In this, as in his assertions and conclusions, he is, once again, incorrect.

    Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

    by theatre goon on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:35:49 AM PDT

    •  The president supports efforts to reduce (0+ / 0-)

      I point out the president supports efforts to reduce the number of suicides among military personnel and veterans.

      Are those efforts gauranteed of success, of a reduction in suicide?  No.  

      Should the efforts be aborted because they are not gauranteed of success?  No

      OF COURSE we should try and reduce suicides, even when there is no gaurantee of success.

      And I'm hoping you or any gun enthusiast will explain to me why we as a nation have to suffer 30,000+ gunshot fatalities every year.  Surely, preventing the needless deaths of so many Americans is the ultimate preservation of civil rights.  

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:54:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which assertions... (9+ / 0-)

        ...have absolutely nothing to do with the points I put forth.

        I can only take that to mean you have no response to any of those points.  Moving on to the rest of your post, though...

        I would love to see something done about the many fatalities suffered in this country every year.

        In my opinion, the best way to respond to, say, suicide and/or violent crime is to better support our crumbling social safety nets and to undertake meaningful healthcare reform, including that regarding mental health.

        So, with that in mind, in answer to your query:

        And I'm hoping you or any gun enthusiast will explain to me why we as a nation have to suffer 30,000+ gunshot fatalities every year.
        I believe we have this problem largely due to Republicans in office and the policies they put forth.

        If we could just stop Democrats from pointlessly trying to limit gun ownership (such limitations never having been shown to have any impact whatsoever on either violent crime or suicide rates), we would very likely have fewer Republicans in office, and we might be able to make some meaningful strides in the direction we need to go.

        Sadly, though, we seem to be encumbered with those who think that taking away what they perceive as a sin-object will necessarily take way the sin.  It has never worked that way, no matter how many times it's been tried.

        There, you've been answered.  I now expect you to never put forth the false claim that no one ever answers your questions.

        Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

        by theatre goon on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 12:08:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you TG (0+ / 0-)

          Thank you for answering, and I promise I will never say that TG has failed to asnwer my questions.

          Truth be told, I could not understand the points you put forth in your initial comment.  If you wish to re-state them (KISS - keep it short and simple), and limit yourself to no more than two points, I will attempt to respond.

          You make an interesting point about Dems and Repubs and gun laws.  I am not aware of any current Democratic office holders that have proposed or even suggested any gun legislation, tho' I know gun industry groups pretned there are pages of laws just waiting to get passed as a way to get money for supporters.  And wasn't it Reagan who signed into law that most recent legislation that put any significant restrictions on gun sales?

          Here is a suggestion I have that might help reduce gun violence, suicides, and that crumbling social safety net: end the system by which corporate interests can buy the laws they want.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 12:42:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure, I can re-state my points. (7+ / 0-)

            You have crafted a fictional "gun enthusiast" to whom you attribute arguments.

            Those arguments are either wholly nonexistent, or taken so far out of context that they are completely meaningless.

            This is the "person" you are arguing against -- a non-existent person who makes non-existent arguments.

            Further, your conclusions do not logically follow from your premises.

            Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

            by theatre goon on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 02:25:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ooooo, I know this one...! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theatre goon, rockhound

              Something about constructing ersatz homonids out of agricultural grain-harvesting residue, yes?

            •  In response (0+ / 0-)

              When I tell gun enthusiasts (in diaries like this one) that 30,000+ Americans die every year due to gunshot injuries, I get feedback (like the comments appending this diary).

              The gun enthusiasts who provide that feedback may indeed be fictional - i.e. I don't know you actually exist or actually own and use guns or support and advocate guns ownership.  But the comments that appear after a diary saying that 30,000+ Americans die every year due to gunshot injuries are real in that they are archived on this site and you and I can go read them (tho' often the statements made in those comments are untrue and are therefore fictional).

              Now as I said above, when I say that 30,000+ Americans die every year as a result of gunshot injuries, I typically get two responses.

              A) The 30,000+ Americans killed every year by gunshot injuries is insignificant relative to the many Americans who are killed by other means.  Here's an example:

              More bad argument. (7+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:theatre goon, EdMass, IndieGuy, labwitchy, oldpunk, PavePusher, Robobagpiper
              (1) Who doesn't "acknowledge" that 30,000 people die of gunshot every year? 100,000 people die of medical errors in hospitals. 47,000 die of no medical care. ~50,000 people a year die of influenza. Cancer, organ failure, motor vehicle accidents, bathtub falls, electrocution, evil boyfriend/husband, drug overdose, house fires, wars... there are lots of ways to die. And every year millions of people do die. That is the nature of life (and death) on planet earth.

              (snip)

              by Joieau on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 12:41:57 PM PDT

              (he accurately titles his bad arguments "more bad arguments"!!  To understand why they are bad arguments, read the diary above.)

              B) The number 30,000+ is exaggerated because it includes people who commit suicides and those deaths don't count.  Here is an example:

              Diary does not treat Suicide properly (12+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:KVoimakas, judyms9, rockhound, IndieGuy, theatre goon, Mildly Unsuccessful Lurker, Tom Seaview, Robobagpiper, oldpunk, deedogg, PavePusher, ER Doc
              Most deaths from firearms are by suicide and the diary is not upfront about this when using the term "violence" but not immediately clarifying that this number's biggest contributor by far is suicide.

               From CDC in 2009 there were 36,909 suicides.  Of which 18,735 the person chose to use a firearm.  There is nothing to show that removing the legal availability of firearms reduces suicides.  For. example, Japan has very low ownership of guns but a high suicide rate.
              http://webappa.cdc.gov/....

              At the same time just as women have a right to abortion, I and many others believe in a strong right of suicide.  

              If we look only at homicides, we get for firearms 11,493 with a rate per 100,000 of 3.74,  far lower than total deaths by firearm of 30,561 and 9.95 per 100,000.
              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:23:31 AM PDT

              Notice all the RKBA members who "recced" this comment.  The guy who wrote this was supported by twelve others who we have to assume agree with his point!!  To understand why I think this is a rotten argument, read the diary above.

              So the "gun enthusiasts" may be hiding their real identities, but their comments are real.

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 01:45:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, you mischaracterize what I posted... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PavePusher

                It is not that the "gun enthusiasts" who give you responses may not be what they pretend to be -- it is that you create a fictional person to attribute arguments to that do not exist.

                You refer to all who point out the flaws in your arguments as "gun enthusiasts," which is simply not the case.  People disagree with you for many reasons -- as pointed out throughout this commentary.

                One of the main reasons people are here disagreeing with you is that your assertions are flatly false.  No need to be a "gun enthusiast" for people to disagree with you for that reason.

                Further, those arguments that you attribute to this non-existent "gun enthusiast" archetype that you refer to are either nonexistent themselves, or taken out of context.

                For instance, in the first comment you blockquoted, you are misrepresenting what was actually stated.  At no point did anyone say that suicides, no matter the number, are "insignificant," as you claim.  Therefore, it is simply false.  It simply pointed out that suicide is one cause of death among many.  You are trying to add something to the statement that is simply not there.

                And in the second comment you quoted, no one stated that suicides "don't count."  What was stated, however, and quite clearly, is that the numbers you provide are rather misleading in and of themselves, and that you go on to try and make them even more misleading in your own interpretation.

                In other words, the comment simply does not make the statement that you are here claiming it does.

                You've made that a habit throughout this discussion -- taking arguments completely out of context, and/or insisting that they state something that they simply do not state.

                So, to sum up, you misrepresented what I posted, and then used misrepresentations of other posts to "respond" to it.

                If nothing else, you are consistent in your tactics.

                Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

                by theatre goon on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 02:13:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The arguments DO indeed exist (0+ / 0-)

                  The arguments you say do not exist DO INDEED EXIST!!!!

                  I have shown you those arguments stated in print.  Go read my comment title "In Response" - there you will find proof of the existence of these arguments.

                  If we look only at homicides, we get for firearms 11,493 with a rate per 100,000 of 3.74,  far lower than total deaths by firearm of 30,561 and 9.95 per 100,000.
                  Here is a person arguing that ONLY 11,000 Americans die annually from gunshot injuries (a mere 11,000!) we s/he discounts suicides.  There is no other to accurately characterize this person's thinking!!!

                  Now I agree entirely that not EVERY gun owner in America thinks this way, and not even EVERY member of dk RKBA thinks this way.  But I can identify by name 7 and 12 members of dk RKBA who DO think that way: those who "recced" the two comments I copied above.

                  "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                  by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 03:36:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And yet... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PavePusher, FrugalGranny

                    ...the "examples" you provided still did not, in fact, state what you insist that they state.

                    I can see this quite plainly by reading what the comments in question state and comparing that to your description of those comments -- the two are quite different.

                    You keep insisting on putting words and contexts onto the statements that are simply not there.

                    For instance, the example you use here is explaining the numbers.  It is you who are attempting to state that this is some sort of dismissal of suicides -- it is  not.  It is simply explaining how the different numbers are arrived at.  You are trying to put in a new meaning that does not exist.

                    It's really very simple -- people are not stating what you insist they are stating.

                    So, no matter how many times you insist that people are saying something that they are not, it still won't be true.  This has now been pointed out to you numerous times, quite clearly.

                    That being the case, the most reasonable explanation is that you are purposefully and intentionally misrepresenting what others are saying.  You've been caught out doing that enough times now that it's become exactly what we expect of you -- and you never disappoint.

                    Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

                    by theatre goon on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 03:56:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Is it time to consider him HOS yet? n/t (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      theatre goon, FrugalGranny
                      •  Probably not, according to site rules. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        rockhound, FrugalGranny

                        His little game, juvenile as it is, doesn't really impact the site as a whole -- and that's what it seems it takes to get HOS to stick.

                        I mean, he's not bad at this little tactic of his.  He re-writes the statements of others into things they didn't actually say, but he stays close enough to the actual words so that he can play at simply misunderstanding what was said.

                        We know the difference because it's our diaries he trolls most of the time.  Others aren't as familiar with the tactic.

                        Even then, what would be the point?  Look at how little support his last couple of diaries have gotten.  The tactic isn't working any better for him than it is for the Republicans with their "Obama Apology Tour" nonsense -- it is identical, and it's not working for either of them.  When you invest in that tactic, though, you have to really commit to it.

                        He plays his little game, we come in and point out just how foolish his little arguments are, and it moves off the list.

                        Making him HOS would just get him a bit of the support he's not getting now, out of a sense of pity, if nothing else.

                        Heck, if we ignored him, he'd get no response whatsoever.  I just goes against the grain to let such outright falsehoods go without pointing them out.  

                        I'm starting to wonder if it's not like responding to the wilder conspiracy theories -- to even take the time to refute them is to give them more attention than they deserve.

                        Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

                        by theatre goon on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 04:20:22 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm making this harder than it needs to be (0+ / 0-)

                      Sorry to take so long getting back to you - I was out of town for a bit.

                      Anyways, I think I've been making this harder for us than it needs to be.

                      The issue is simple: the CDC reports that 30,000+ Americans die every year from gunshot injuries.  On hearing that statistic, people (you, I, others) will either accept that as a fact, or decide the statistic is wrong, for whatever reason(s).

                      After reading the two comments I previously quoted to you, I concluded these two commenters did not accept as a fact that 30,000+ Americans die every year of gunshot injuries; I understood that these two commenters were saying that the statistic was somehow wrong or in error.

                      If, as you say, I have misintepreted those two commenters (and all the people who "recced" those comments) and they do indeed accept as a fact that 30,000+ Americans die every year of gunshot injuries, then we are all in agreement, and nothing more need be said on the subject.

                      Thank you for setting me straight.

                      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:46:43 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  If those efforts violate the 2nd Amendment, yes. (6+ / 0-)

        They should be aborted.  The President is ill served by the prohibitionist junk science your side regularly spouts.

  •  Hmmmmm (8+ / 0-)

    Interesting diary, but if you want to discuss suicide, then removing guns isn't really going to help.

    I live in San Francisco. We have heavy duty gun regs here. We also have plenty of suicides that don't fit the numbers you posted.

    From The 2007 - 2008 SF Coroner's report:

    Methods of Suicide death are detailed in Figure 2-26.  The most frequent method of NonVehicular Suicide death is drug-related (intentional overdose) with 30 deaths attributed to
    this method (31.6%) followed by jumping from buildings or bridges at 21 (22.1%) and
    hanging at 20 (21%).  There was a significant drop in suicides by firearm in 2007 – 2008 over
    the previous fiscal year from 24 to 12
    .
    In addition, the demographics are stated this way:
    Most Suicide deaths are White (61.8%) males (81.8%) and are most likely to be
    between the ages of 30 and 59 with the peak occurring in the 40-49 age group (23.6%).
    If you are concerned about suicide, then more has to be done at the mental health level.
    •  Thank you, FrugalGranny (8+ / 0-)

      You distilled all of the many, many problems with this diary in one concise, clear posting.

      Well said.

      Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

      by theatre goon on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 02:56:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nationwide (0+ / 0-)

      I have no criticisms of the statistics reported by the SF Cornoner's office, except that it is specific to SF alone.

      The CDC collects statistics on causes of death across the country.  The CDC reports that for the nation as a whole, every year 30,000+ Americans die from gunshot injuries.

      The CDC reports that more women attempt suicide than do men, and that for women, poisoning is the most common method chosen.  More men complete (die from) their suicide attempts than do women, and guns are the most common means of suicide among men.

      Further research has shown that there is a significant positive correlation between the numbers of guns in the US and the number of people dying from gunshot injuries (and the correlation remains significant but is somewhat smaller for the number of people who suffer a non-fatal gunshot injury).

      For anyone who favors rational thought, these are all damning indictments against the proliferation of guns in America.

      I agree that reducing the number of guns in America may not result in a large reduction in the number of all suicide.  It certainly may reduce the number of suicides completed using a gun.  And given that over 100,000+ Americans are injured every year by guns, it makes perfect sense to reduce the number of guns in America, both for the decrease in suicides and the all the other people who had no intention of hurting themselves when they got shot.  

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 03:38:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  San Francisco's gun laws (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theatre goon, rockhound, FrugalGranny

      Are no different than the rest of California's. They can't be, as California has a state preemption statute on this issue. San Francisco has tried to go farther, including a city ordnance banning handguns, but none of those laws have survived in court.

      If San Francisco has a different suicide profile than the rest of the state, gun laws cannot be a factor.

      --Shannon

      "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
      "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

      by Leftie Gunner on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 08:09:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theatre goon

        I guess I was out of state too long (10 years) and didn't realize how restrictive the state had gotten.

        Still, the numbers show that the restrictions don't do that much to prevent suicide. My two friends that committed suicide would have done so regardless. It was mental health help they needed rather than a ban on guns.

  •  Just a few facts - (0+ / 0-)

    For the record, I'm ambivalent about gun control and don't have a clear opinion on it. I'm not adding this because I care about the subject of guns. I usually stay out of gun diaries, both pro and con. I'm concerned about some of the misrepresentation of mental health issues. I haven't read all the comments, so I appologize if someone has already mentioned something similar.

    There is good indication that obstacles to the means of suicide in fact reduce the number of suicides. People who try to commit suicide and are prevented from doing so frequently do not try again.

    A clinical psychologist and professor, Richard Seiden, did a study entitled "Where Are They Now?" which followed up on the fates of 515 who had been prevented from jumping off the Golden Gate bridge. He found that only 6% of those people ultimately died from a suicide.

    From "The Urge to End It All" in The New York Times:

    For generations, the people of Britain heated their homes and fueled their stoves with coal gas. While plentiful and cheap, coal-derived gas could also be deadly; in its unburned form, it released very high levels of carbon monoxide, and an open valve or a leak in a closed space could induce asphyxiation in a matter of minutes. This extreme toxicity also made it a preferred method of suicide. “Sticking one’s head in the oven” became so common in Britain that by the late 1950s it accounted for some 2,500 suicides a year, almost half the nation’s total.

    Those numbers began dropping over the next decade as the British government embarked on a program to phase out coal gas in favor of the much cleaner natural gas. By the early 1970s, the amount of carbon monoxide running through domestic gas lines had been reduced to nearly zero. During those same years, Britain’s national suicide rate dropped by nearly a third, and it has remained close to that reduced level ever since.

    How can this be? After all, if the impulse to suicide is primarily rooted in mental illness and that illness goes untreated, how does merely closing off one means of self-destruction have any lasting effect? At least a partial answer is that many of those Britons who asphyxiated themselves did so impulsively. In a moment of deep despair or rage or sadness, they turned to what was easy and quick and deadly — “the execution chamber in everyone’s kitchen,” as one psychologist described it — and that instrument allowed little time for second thoughts. Remove it, and the process slowed down; it allowed time for the dark passion to pass.

    According to the article, people who make suicide attempts associated with a high degree of impulsivity are actually less likely to display warning signs, are less likely to have a history of suicide attempts and less likely to have diagnosed mental illness with the exception of schizophrenia. A study of people who survived self-inflicted gun wounds showed that most of them reported thinking about killing themselves for less than an hour.

    Just to reiterate, I'm not offering this as an argument for or against any specific gun related legislation.

    •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FourthOfJulyAsburyPark

      Thank you for reading and your comment.

      Sadly, no one else has really addressed the topic of suicide, except to say that if you take away guns, people will find other ways to kill themselves.  

      As you point out, the act of suicide is largely impulsive, and if concerned others can guide the suicidal person past their impulses moment, then a large proportion of the patients will then NOT kill themselves.

      There is no reason to think the dynamic changes when considering guns.  Indeed the empiric evidence is that men complete more of their suicides than women, and men use guns as their method more than women.  It follows that the gun is an important factor in who lives and who dies among people with suicidal impulses.

      This is not to say that removing guns will end all suicides.  The empirc evidence is very clear that many people go on to kill themselves without use of a gun.

      While I would love to see the elimination of all guns, as a matter of policy, I don't think that is a practical goal.  Rather, I suggest stricter limits on the sale of guns and ammo, perhaps with a hefty "sin tax" on guns and ammo to offset the public costs of paying for all those gunshot injuries that occur.  As the gun enthusiasts correctly point out, if we were to simply make all guns illegal, we would only be creating an extensive underground market for guns and ammo.  

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 06:37:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There seems to be a general unwillingness to (0+ / 0-)

        recognize this impulsive aspect of many suicides, not just among supporters of gun ownership. I read your diary more or less by accident and some of the comments reminded me of that article which I read when it was published, so I looked it up. Since it contradicts so many people, I wouldn't have posted it if I didn't have a link.

        When rereading it, I couldn't help wondering if this unwillingness to adress the preventability a suicide didn't in some way relate to a sense of guilt. Like a lot of people, I've had a couple of friends who have killed themselves. One of them reached out to me before he died. Everyone says, "Oh, it wouldn't have mattered what else you might have done. People who want to kill themselves are mentally ill and will do so eventually anyway." It might make the survivors feel better, but it might not be true.

        •  Perhaps partisanship? (0+ / 0-)

          I have quite literally heard gun enthusiasts tell me "suicides don't count: you can't say that 30,000 americans die from gunshot injuries because some of those poeple killed themselves and they don't count".

          I'm willing to bet that if the issue was not guns, some of these people would never say something so ignorant and hurtful.

          I think gun partisanship is at play here, and accounts for the unwillingness to accept the fact that guns hurt and kill so many every year.

          The alternative explanation is that gun enthusiasts are more concerned about their fast and easy access to guns than for the lives and health of their neighbors.  That's a pretty grotesque thought, so I prefer the first explanation.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:10:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Holy Maternal Bovine, repeat yourself much? (13+ / 0-)

    You cite the 30,000 number 15 times.

    And this...

    So let us assume that 50% of the fatal gunshot injuries that occur every year are due to suicide.
    gives the final proof that you are attempting to promote a distortion as truth, as the actual numbers are only moments away via the CDC stats that I believe have been quoted to you in the past.
    Reliable statistics are lacking, but in all likelihood, the majority of those military suicides are accomplished using a firearm.
    I'm sure you could find some actual stats... if you actually looked.  I urge you to try.

    Lastly, suicide is not a gun problem, it's a mental health care problem.  As you mention only briefly in your second-to-last sentence... before totally ignoring that issue in favor of going after guns.

    Suicides do count.  The President is to be applauded for his strong stand in preventing suicide among our veterans and military personnel.  Let us follow his lead to better mental health services for all Americans.  A review of our nation's gun policy should be part of that effort.
    Proving that you don't give a rats' ass about suicide, only about going after the nasty guns.

    What a steaming pile of feces this diary is.

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